Money Saving Tips for Home Expenses, Shopping, and Food
Looking to save more money during Tax Year 2021? Below, find simple money saving tips to practice in order to save more of your hard earned money during the year. Navigate through the page to find tips for saving money on energy, utilities, household chores, grocery shopping, and food in 2021. You can also claim credits for certain home improvements and expenses. Another way to save money in 2021 is to prepare and e-File your 2020 Tax Return on eFile.com. The eFile app provides the same features as other popular tax prep and e-Fling sites for less, and everyone gets free premium tax support. See more reasons to prepare and e-File your return on eFile.com. With following this list, find ways to save money on your taxes, such as tax credits when you work or live abroad, deductions, and the difference between itemized and standard deductions.
In addition to saving money during the year, eFile.com will help you get the most out of your 2020 Tax Return. With a collection of online tools and calculators, we help you prepare to prepare in order to reduce the stress of filing while walking you through your return. Your 2020 Tax Return is due on April 15, 2021.
Tips for Saving Money on Energy
- Turn off the lights in rooms that are not in use.
- Don’t leave your tap running when you brush your teeth.
- Insulate your home. The initial investment will pay off in savings on heating and cooling.
- Fill a bottle with water and place it in the toilet water tank. It will save you a little bit with every flush and over time it will add up to significant savings.
- Turn off your ceiling fan when you are not in the room as it will not help cool other areas of the house.
- Planting a tree to provide some shade for your house can save you money on air conditioning during those scorching summer days.
- Don’t take baths; shower instead. Showers use less water than baths unless you plan on taking a very long shower.
- Don’t over-dry clothing; it is a pointless waste of energy and money.
- Don’t water your lawn as much.
- Close your blinds and curtains on hot summer days to keep your home cooler.
- When using the garbage disposal in your sink, run cold water instead of hot water.
- Boil water in a container that’s covered because it traps more heat and thus brings the water to a boil faster, using less energy.
- Clean the lint filter every time you dry your clothes. Lint build up only restricts airflow and prolongs the drying time, thus wasting energy.
- Try not to use the oven during hot summer months. It will save you money on air conditioning bills.
- Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent. They may cost more, but they last longer and use significantly less energy. Plus, the cost of producing them is dropping, leading to cheaper prices.
- Reverse your ceiling fan in the winter. By revolving clockwise, the fan will pull up cool air and send down the settled heated air near the ceiling. It will push the warm air that's gathered near the ceiling down into the living space, cutting heating costs by as much as 10 percent.
- Keep your thermostat and the area around it clear of any devices that produce excessive heat. Adjust it before leaving the house or going to sleep at night. Install a programmable thermostat if you're always forgetting to adjust the temperature. Programmable thermostats are easy to install, inexpensive, and they can save a couple of hundred dollars per year in energy costs. During the winter, turn the thermostat down 2 degrees F; turn it up 2 degrees F during the summer.
Tips for Saving Money on Utilities
- Install vents in your attic. They can significantly reduce your cooling costs by keeping the attic cooler during summer months.
- Don’t procrastinate on repairing dripping faucets. It is estimated that even one drop per second can waste as much as 48 gallons of water per week (an average leak wastes 27 gallons of water per day). That is money going down the drain.
- Install a low-flow shower head in your shower to save water and money.
- Having faucet aerators in bathroom sinks will reduce your water usage. The aerator separates water into smaller drops, thus using less water while keeping the perceived size of the stream the same.
- Insulate water pipes where they are exposed. This can save you around $20 a year.
- When purchasing a water heater, buy one that suits your needs. One that is too large will cost more to operate since it will use more energy. Since manufacturers often set the default the temperature setting to 140 degrees, lowering the setting by 10 degrees (usually to the average 120 degree home setting) can save you an additional 3 to 5 percent in energy costs.
- Run full loads in dishwashers and washing machines. The machine uses the same amount of energy whether it contains a full load or not, so it’s best to maximize its efficiency by maximizing its allowable load.
- Clean or replace the filter in your air conditioning or furnace unit. You can save 5 to 15 percent of your monthly cooling and heating bill with proper maintenance.
- After you’re done baking, you can leave the oven door open during the winter months to provide heat for your house and save a little money on heating bills.
- Use a microwave instead of a stove. It will save the energy normally wasted on heating the stove and the pan.
- Shut air vents in rooms that you don’t use. There is no need to keep them warm or cool if they are unoccupied.
- Make sure your refrigerator has good seals. A break in the seal will allow heat to enter, causing the refrigerator to work more to keep the food cold.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils. The dust that builds up on them can cause it to perform less efficiently.
- Make sure your outdoor lighting turns off at dawn and isn’t on pointlessly during the day.
- If you have a room air conditioner, make sure to seal the area around it to prevent heat from entering the room.
- Don’t open the oven door to peek in; that significantly lowers the temperature and requires more energy. Instead, if your oven has a window and an oven light, turn on the oven light and look through the window.
- When it gets cold enough outside to not use the room air conditioner, remove it from the window.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when they’re not in use. If you have a laptop, put it in hibernate mode when not using it.
- If the area that you live in generally has hard water, consider using a water softener to reduce build up on coils and pipes.
- If you have an attic, make sure to properly insulate it.
- If you have a dehumidifier, use the water produced to water plants.
- Use kitchen and bathroom vent fans sparingly in winter and summer—these fans blow your heated or cooled air outside.
- Seal drafty doors and windows so your cooling and heating systems don't have to work overtime. This can save you at least 20 percent on energy costs.
- When it comes to repairs around the house that you can do, skip on calling a repair service and do it yourself instead. Not only will it save you money, it will also help you master a new skill. Hire outside help only on big or dangerous projects like electrical work.
Tips for Saving Money Around the House
- Wash and reuse plastic bags like Ziploc bags.
- Don’t use so many disposable things; try to utilize reusable alternatives instead. For example, instead of paper napkins, you can use cloth napkins and wash them.
- Dry your razor blade with a towel after each use. Corrosion caused by moisture is one of the main causes of dull razor blades.
- Instead of buying long matches, you can just use spaghetti. It burns as well as a match and costs much less. You just need a flame to light it.
- Baby food jars can be reused to store kitchen spices.
- Instead of buying special plastic containers, you can use old shoe boxes for storage of various items.
- If you use liquid soap, putting a rubber band around the base of the soap pump will cause less soap to be released, but it will still be an adequate amount. This will make the soap last longer.
- You can add a little water to an almost empty detergent bottle to get the last bit out.
- Keeping nail polish in the refrigerator prevents it from getting thick, thus making it last longer.
- Clean out your closet! Remove anything that you rarely or never use. Give these items to family and friends, hold a garage sale, or donate them to charitable organizations (you could get a charity tax deduction for your donation).
- Make your own house-cleaning supplies. Check the internet for recipes with instructions for creating various cleaning supplies, like laundry detergent (a batch costs you pennies on the dollar per load).
- To clean clothes, use about a teaspoon of liquid dish soap in your top-loading washing machine. It's cheaper (and has fewer chemicals) than laundry detergent.
- Use plastic mesh bags that come in fruits and vegetables to scrub pots and pans (just remove any staples and labels, tie the back of the bag into a knot, and start scrubbing). They can work just as well as steel wool pads or pot scrubbers.
- Grease a baking pan with empty margarine or butter wrappers. Store unused wrappers in a sealed plastic bag and keep the bag in the freezer.
Tips for Saving Money When Shopping
- Collect coupons and use them when shopping. Even if it saves you only several dollars per grocery store visit, the savings will pile up over the year.
- Buying store brands is cheaper than buying name brands and usually the quality is about the same.
- If you use a lot of something, buying it in bulk will save a significant amount of money.
- Add tax to the cost of things you buy; it can make a difference.
- Avoid buying things like candy and batteries from the checkout line. Items there are often marked up because they are more convenient to find. You might be able to find a similar product in one of the isles for a cheaper price.
- Keep an eye on the prices as your items are being scanned. Sometimes register scanners make mistakes.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle where appropriate.
- Pay attention to the unit price of the product in the grocery store. One product might seem cheaper, but it may also contain less and end up costing more per unit.
- Avoid buying things like party supplies, kitchen utensils, toiletries, or batteries at your local supermarket. The same products can be found at other stores for much cheaper. Same generally goes for school supplies.
- Shopping at outlet stores can save you a lot of money without seriously sacrificing quality of the goods you buy.
- You can buy clothing much cheaper at the end of the season or the beginning of the next one.
- After major holidays, stores sell dirt-cheap candy, gifts, and decorations. Halloween or Valentine’s Day candy is still just candy the day after, so you can buy it for yourself instead of paying the regular price for candy that’s not holiday-themed.
- Instead of spending money on bottled water, buy a reusable bottle and a water filter to filter your tap water and fill up your bottle.
- Sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores. They often include offers and coupons so you can save more money on the products you need or want.
- Some websites offer free shipping (for a minimum purchase) throughout the year. Keep an eye out for free shipping during the year-end holiday season so you can save on your holiday shopping.
- If you see special sale items that are currently out of stock, ask for a rain check so you can pick them up when you need them (at the sale price).
Tips for Saving Money on Food
- Learn to cook and make homemade meals from fresh ingredients instead of going out to eat. Even semi-prepared foods are significantly cheaper than food at a restaurant. Plus, you can control your portions better at home than at a restaurant, which prevents overeating.
- Make your own coffee instead of picking it up at a coffee shop. Even if you have to buy a coffee maker, if you drink coffee often, it will pay for itself soon enough.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Buying them out of season can potentially add several dollars to the price tag because they are shipped from another part of the world.
- If you can, go to the grocery store when the kids are in school. That will prevent them from asking you to buy junk food that can be both unhealthy and overpriced. Make a list before going grocery shopping and follow it as not having one may not only make you forget to buy some things, but also will likely case you to buy some things you don’t need.
- Shopping for produce at the farmer’s market can be cheaper than buying fruits and vegetables at a supermarket that have been shipped from hundreds of miles away.
- It is a well-known fact that many supermarkets place the more expensive items at eye-level. Looking at products on the bottom shelf can lead to some cheaper alternatives to the products you’re looking for.
- Instead of buying baked goods at the supermarket, buy baking mixes and bake at home.
- Instead of buying small snack packs, buy a large bag and some snack-size Ziploc bags and divide the contents of the bag into small servings in Ziploc bags.
- Eat leftovers. Throwing them out is like throwing money in the trash.
- Avoid going to the grocery store when you're hungry. The fact that you’re hungry will make any food item attractive and will likely make you buy more than you need to.
- Buy fresh foods that go on sale (especially chicken, beef, and pork) and freeze them. Remove packaging, rewrap them in plastic wrap, and place them in a freezer bag with the date marked. They can stay fresh for about two months.
- Save money by starting from scratch. Make chicken stock by simmering water, vegetables, and chicken bones (it costs about 60 cents a pound). Three gallons of homemade chicken stock costs about the same as a store-bought 36-ounce box.
- Divide your plate into three equal portions of grains, vegetables, and meat (3 to 4 ounces each). Not only will you spend less money on meat, you will feel healthier.
- Beware of prices that are too low to be true. If most hamburger meat is selling for $4.99 a pound, be suspicious of the 89-cents-per-pound deal. It may not only be a waste of money, but it's also probably not good.
- Instead of buying premium meats like boneless, skinless chicken breasts and prime steak filets, buy chicken thighs and skirt steaks.
- Spend a lot of money on spices you don't use often? Buy small containers of spices in seed form instead of powder (whenever possible). Toast seeds when you need them and grind them in a pepper mill. It's cheaper and flavorful.
- Bringing your own lunch to work instead of going out to eat will help you save money.
- When choosing a restaurant while traveling, look for one that's away from the high-rent squares. It will serve what's in season and target locals rather than tourists.
- If you need only a few fruits or vegetables for a meal, buying a small amount at the salad bar may be cheaper than buying a bag of precut vegetables or fruit.
- Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch entrees are typically 25 to 50 percent cheaper than dinner items and the portions are usually just as big. To save even more money, go out for breakfast.
- Save all condiment packets you receive or pick up when you eat out. It may allow you to cut back on buying ketchup, mayonnaise, and other condiments at the grocery store. This could save you about $25-50 per year (for an average household).
More Helpful Tax Tips and Information for Saving Money
Save money on work, school, and travel.
Discover ways to save money on entertainment, technology, fitness, and health.
Find money saving tips for everyday expenses and finances.
Read about unusual tax breaks and deductions.
Detailed overview of tax history in United States and the world.
Find helpful information on help with paying taxes as well as what to do if you have tax debt.
Use our free tax tools to calculate taxes or determine eligibility for certain tax credits.
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